How strict parenting changes your child (not for good)


Do you expect your child to follow orders without questioning you? Do you feel that only if they obey your orders, they love you? Do you feel every disobedience should be met with strict punishment? If you have excessive demands from your kids, know that you are physically and emotionally abusing your child.

Science proves it that children who are brought up in a very authoritative manner, end up with low self esteem, resort to bullying, may even fall prey to depression. Many also suffer from weight issues and face problems in regulating themselves.

A mental health counselor once asked pre teens to pen down one line they would like to write to their parents. She asked them to not mention regular things but what they wish their parents knew about them. Some of the responses were

I am trying really hard

Please don’t scold me so much

I wish you would also listen to me sometimes

I feel scared when you shout at me

Please stop nagging

A lot of parents were then shown these responses and their reactions were rather shocking. Some of them said, “They are preparing their child for the big bad world,” others said, “They are pushing kids for their own good.” Mom of two, Smita Arora shares, “We all were brought up in a strict environment where we were expected to do what our parents expected and questioning them back was never an option. Our children will become weak if we let them have their way and allow them to choose for themselves!”

We all know teen suicides are on the rise and anxiety, depression are increasing at an alarming degree. Peer pressure, social media exposure are all enough to make your child feel stressed and anxious but if they don’t feel emotionally safe in their own homes, it can lead to a lot of mental stress and trauma.

On condition of anonymity, a parent whose child is undergoing therapy for depression shared, “My daughter was a top scorer. I kept telling her she makes me proud. But then her grades started to drop and I felt like a failure. I started to pressurize her and tell her she isn’t trying enough. She was but I didn’t see it. Exam time turned into a nightmare for both of us. I turned my beautiful bright daughter into a terrorized person. Her grades fell further. She started to withdraw herself, stopped talking to her friends. That’s when we sought help and found out she had slipped into depression.”

We as parents are forever trying to perfect our children. We want them to excel academically and we also want them to be exceptional in sports, dance or any other extra curricular activity. In the process, we end up choking them of their free time. Most coaches in fact tell parents to back off – they don’t want parents to shout at their children to perform.

A math coach I recently hired for my daughter would encourage her to do better by applauding even the little concepts that she got right. I found it unnecessary in the beginning but soon I saw her enjoying math and finding joy in solving the simplest of questions. I soon realized my nagging wasn’t helping her in anyway. She would sit with a book to please (or calm) me, not because she liked what she was doing.

In short, the effect that you have on your children should be more about a trusting relationship that you share with them than due to the authority you lash out at them or the times you reprimand them. Sometimes when you see your child pushing you away, they are actually fighting for space to shape their identity. Giving children choices helps them feel like they have some power and control over their life and it is seen as a huge step towards growing up into a confident and independent person.

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